The time has come as the NFL regular season is less than 12 hours away as the Dallas Cowboys take on the defending super bowl champions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Fans of both teams will be packing out Raymond James Stadium to watch an exciting and heart-racing game that will feature many stars.
Before tonight’s game, let us discuss three Cowboys players to keep your eye on.
The most exciting player that everyone is eager to see unleashed is Cowboys rookie first-round draft pick, Micah Parsons. Most believe Parsons will be the key factor to the Cowboys’ defensive success against Tampa Bay if they can pull out a win.
Parsons, this offseason, has taken over leadership duties and has made his presence felt in the limited snaps he played during preseason. He is a generational talent as he has world-class speed, athleticism, and a motor that the rest of the defense rallies behind.
It will be interesting to see how Dan Quinn will use Parsons to affect Tom Brady and the Bucs offense from moving the ball downfield. Cowboys know that it is easier said than done to take down Brady but he has struggled throughout his career when he faces a good amount of pressure.
Big Game James on Twitter: “Get Pressure on Brady, he don’t like it. pic.twitter.com/dsPbMpGHQ2 / Twitter”
Get Pressure on Brady, he don’t like it. pic.twitter.com/dsPbMpGHQ2
By looking at the above post, shows the dropoff in completion percentage when Brady’s pocket was clean vs under pressure. When having a clean pocket, his completion percentage stood at 70.5 while under pressure nearly dipped in half from a whopping 40.9 percent.
The key will be for Parsons to create as much havoc and pressure to ensure Brady can make mistakes the Cowboys defense can capitalize on.
The x-factor for the Cowboys offense will be running back Ezekiel Elliott who will be looking to bounce back after an unsuccessful 2020 campaign. With Dak Prescott not playing in a live game since early October, the offense will need to go through Elliott as he works his way back from the shoulder he’s been resting.
Elliott is more than up for the task as he has dedicated a lot of time this offseason to work his body back in shape similar to his college days at Ohio State. With Prescott back under center, Zeke will need to trust his offensive line and himself to carry the offense to a win.
Elliott also used the criticism and his fumble issues last season as motivation and is hungry to prove he still is a focal point of the offense. Look for Elliott to receive a bulk load of carries to try and wear down the Bucs defensive line.
The more compelling player that will face the toughest task will be third-year guard Connor McGovern, who will be starting in place of All-Pro Guard Zack Martin.
McGovern filled in for Martin the last six games of the 2020 season and had some decent snaps but the hope is he can build off of those games and hold his own against Tampa. No one is asking him to be Martin, just be serviceable and keep Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh from wrecking the game.
McGovern has the support from the coaching staff as they said he has improved from last season and had a great week of practice, all eyes will be on #66 and how well he can hold up against a stout Buccaneers defensive line.